THE NUMBERS: Ford Motor Co.'s sales in Europe fell 12.3 percent in July from a year earlier to 83,100 vehicles. From January through July, sales were off 10.6 percent, and Ford said total industry sales were the lowest in 17 years in the region.

THE REASON: Europe appears headed for recession, and people in many countries of the region are reluctant to buy big-ticket goods like cars. Government debt problems in the 17 countries that use the euro are pulling down their economies.

THE SOLUTION: Ford isn't alone in seeing European sales fall. So the company and other automakers are trying to restructure European operations. They're aiming to cut factory capacity and workers so they can make money at lower sales levels. But governments and unions are resisting.